Friday, January 25, 2008

Business people want more than test results

The irony of it all: schools and educrats have been focusing on exams and test scores. What do the employers want the most? Graduates who can actually perform in the workplace. In other words, it's not just about a test score. It's about whether you can do what you claim you can do. That is the news in an article in USA Today by Mary Beth Marklein, "Employers Want New Way to Judge Graduates Beyond Tests, Grades."

Part of the reason that I think about this is because I have a daughter in middle school now, in Texas, which is notorious for its testing. It seems like she is taking some exam, or some practice exam, or doing some drilling to prepare for an exam, every month or so. Good thing she is also a good reader and interested in other things like art, which we nurture at home. In essence, parents nowadays need to supplement what the schools do. Get your kids to read more. Expose them to new experiences. Take them to the museum, etc. After all, there have been a few reports recently on the decline of reading. I am looking at it in a practical way: those with the minimal skills won't be in the job market, so there will be less competition for the ones who can read, for the ones who can actually communicate and have good verbal and written skills, for the ones with good critical thinking abilities and good skills in information literacy.

Having said that, business people are no angels either. This little article does not mean that we should be rushing to hand over the school curriculum to the business world. Far from it. But it should make us aware that we still need to do a lot to fix the educational system.

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